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Feasibility and reliability of electrical, mechanical and thermal nociceptive testing and assessment of diffuse noxious inhibitory control in dogs

Authors Ruel HLM, Watanabe R, Evangelista MC, Beauchamp G, Steagall PV

Received 20 February 2018

Accepted for publication 24 July 2018

Published 23 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 2491—2496


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Hélène LM Ruel,1,2 Ryota Watanabe,1,2 Marina C Evangelista,1,2 Guy Beauchamp,3 Paulo V Steagall1,2

1Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada; 2Quebec Animal Pharmacology Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada; 3Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada

Purpose: Quantitative sensory testing has been used to assess the somatosensory system. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and reliability of electrical (ENT), mechanical (MNT) and thermal (TNT) nociceptive testing and the effect of a conditioning stimulus on MNT.
Patients and methods: Sixteen healthy client-owned dogs were included in this study. Stimulation was applied bilaterally to the dorsal and plantar aspect of the metacarpus and metatarsus respectively, using transcutaneous electrical stimulator, algometry and a cold nociceptive device in a randomized order until a behavior response was observed or a cut-off reached. Tests were performed twice (60 seconds apart) by two observers. Retesting was performed 5 hours later. The diffuse noxious inhibitory control was tested by comparing MNT pre- and post-conditioning stimuli. Sham-testing was performed for ENT and TNT. Statistical analysis included linear model and intra-class correlation coefficient (P<0.05).
Results: Feasibility was 99% (ENT), 93.5% (MNT) and 93.6% (TNT). Data for TNT were not analyzed due to inconsistent results. Mean ± SD were 48±22.6 mA (ENT) and 11.9±3.5 N (MNT). MNT was higher for thoracic than for pelvic limbs (P=0.002). Conditioning stimulus increased MNT (P=0.049). Inter-observer reliability was 91.4% (ENT) and 60.9% (MNT). False-positive responses were 15% (ENT) and 35.7% (TNT).
Conclusion: ENT was feasible, repeatable and superior to MNT and TNT. The assessment of the diffuse noxious inhibitory control with a conditioning stimulus showed promising results in dogs. These tools could be used in naturally-occurring disease to provide insight on their underlying mechanisms and therapeutics.

electrical threshold, mechanical threshold, thermal threshold, quantitative sensory testing, diffuse noxious inhibitory controls, canine

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